HEADSTONES at Gourock Cemetery are to undergo important safety tests starting at the end of this month.

Council officials are conducting checks in the wake of a tragedy at a cemetery in Glasgow, when a young boy was killed after a dangerous monument fell on top of him.

Where a headstone or monument fails the safety test the local authority will try to contact the person who owns the lair to have it repaired.

Bosses say information will be sent to the person’s last known address so lair owners must let them know if they move home.

In the event that the council cannot get in touch with the owner then the headstones concerned will be laid flat.

Councillor Michael McCormick said: “We do our best to approach this matter in a sensitive way but our overriding concern has to be the safety of the people who visit our cemeteries and the people who work in them.

"A child died in Glasgow in 2015 after a dangerous monument fell on him.

“We work closely with families to make sure they know it is their responsibility to look after their loved ones’ headstones.

"Where possible we also contact relatives before we take action.

"But we have to act where a memorial is dangerous.

The safety inspections - which begin on Monday September 30 - are being carried out by trained Inverclyde Council staff and any work needed will be identified during this process.

Inspections at Gourock are part of a wider programme covering all of Inverclyde’s cemeteries.

The process has been completed at Inverkip and Kilmacolm cemeteries while the inspections have finished at Port Glasgow and all the memorials that failed the safety test there are now being laid flat by council staff or repaired by the lair owners.

Knocknairshill and Greenock cemeteries are still to be tackled.

Grave owners or their next of kin are responsible for maintaining headstones but if a memorial is dangerous then the council is obliged to make it safe.

The council says no memorials will be removed from graves.

Cllr McCormick added: "We appreciate that people may be unhappy about this and we apologise sincerely if it causes any upset.

"We understand how difficult it can be for families to see a memorial to a loved one laid flat and we want to help people deal with their dangerous memorials as quickly as possible.

"Anyone who wants to talk about what is happening, or who needs information, should contact the Burial Grounds Office on (01475) 715658.”